Pregnancy symptoms can vary widely from woman to woman. If you suspect that you're pregnant the most obvious sign is, of course, a missed period, but not everyone will skip their period during the very early stages of pregnancy. To make matters more complicated, the signs that you are pregnant can easily be misinterpreted as symptoms of other things. The best way to know for sure is to take a pregnancy test.
Also if you are trying to become pregnant find out more about how to prepare your body for this special time like learning more about prenatal tests you should take, how to develop healthy habits for pregnancy, and get information on the best diet and exercise to do when trying to conceive. Find out more about what you should be doing for preconception care.
Signs that You are Pregnant
Delay/Difference in Menstruation
This is the most obvious and common pregnancy symptom. If you are pregnant you will probably miss your period, or you may have a period that is shorter and lighter than your periods usually are. It may also start earlier or later than usual. However, this is not always a sign of pregnancy; any excessive weight gain or loss, hormonal problems, stress, or stopping the birth control pill can bring on a delay or difference in menstruation.
Approximately six to 12 days after concept, an embryo will implant itself in the uterine wall. This can cause cramping and spotting in some women. This can also be mistaken for menstruation, or can result from infections or changes in oral contraception usage.
Quick Tip:A heating pad can help with the cramping if you are avoid taking painkillers in case you are pregnant.
This is probably the most well known of all the signs that you might be pregnant. Usually morning sickness will start within two to 8 weeks after conception. Despite being called "morning" sickness, nausea can occur at any time during the day. Some women may never experience this, or only feel sick during part of their pregnancy, others continue to feel nauseous for the entire time they are pregnant. This symptom can be mistaken for food poisoning and other stomach ailments. However, severe nausea or morning sickness can be signs of hyperemesis gravidarum, which can have very serious side effects. For morning sickness relief, check out our article on cures for morning sickness.
Quick Tip: Some women suffering from morning sickness find it helpful to eat small meals throughout the day, or munch on soda crackers when they begin to feel nauseous.
Tender, Swollen Breasts
One to 2 weeks into their pregnancy, some women may start to notice changes in the appearance and sensitivity of their breasts. They may become sore, swollen, or tender to the touch and there may be colour or size changes to the areola or nipple. This symptom can also occur as a result of PMS, hormonal imbalances or from taking birth control pills.
Quick Tip: Try cutting back on caffeine as this can sometimes contribute to breast tenderness.
This symptom might be noticed as early as one week after conception, but can also be caused by a host of other ailments and stresses, so it's not a very reliable indicator.
Increased Sensitivity to Tastes or Odours
No one is completely certain as to why this happens, one theory is that increased levels of estrogen are to blame. What is known is that in the early stages of pregnancy certain smells that never bothered you before may cause you to gag. Sometimes even your favourite foods will begin to disgust you.
Can begin six weeks after conception. During pregnancy, the amount of blood and other fluids in your body will increase. Once the extra fluid is processed, it ends up in your bladder and the next thing you know, you're running for the bathroom every 10 minutes. The bad news is, as the baby continues to grow, it will start to push on your bladder and that will mean more frequent trips to the washroom for the rest of your pregnancy.
In early pregnancy your hormones will being to run amok, which could make you feel bloated, similar to what you may experience around the time your period starts.
Quick Tip: If you're feeling bloated, try cutting back on salt and drink some extra water, this should help to ease bloat.
No, it's not an old wives tale, pregnant women do find themselves craving certain foods. This may happen only one time, or it might continue to happen for the entire time that you're pregnant.
Elevated Basal Body Temperature
If you've been charting your basal body temperature and you notice that your temperature has been elevated for 18 days in a row, you're likely pregnant.
Whether you're experiencing these symptoms or not, if you think you might be pregnant the best way to find out as soon as possible is to take a home pregnancy test or get the doctor to test you. Keep in mind that most home pregnancy tests are not sensitive enough to detect pregnancy until at least one week after a missed period.
Even if you take a home pregnancy test and get a negative result, if your symptoms persist or your period does not return to normal, you should see your doctor.
Connect with other pregnant women to exchange pregnancy symptoms, like sore and enlarged pregnancy breasts, in our pregnancy forum.
Learn more about early pregnancy at the American Pregnancy Association.